Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Saturday Surf #21

This week people went a little bit stupid-crazy over music. The Stone Roses, a band who produced one brilliant album and one decidedly average one announced that they were re-forming and sold 220,000 tickets at £55 each for three concerts in Manchester this summer. That’s slightly over 12 million pounds in ticket sales for a band that have a reputation for being decidedly dodgy live. Their 1990 Spike Island show was a wind-blown sound disaster, but most of the kids in attendance were too off their heads on hallucinogenic substances to care. Yet Spike Island set a precedent for indie rock bands to do something that really hadn’t been done for some time; to have ambition, to be huge, to fill stadium sized venues. It was that swagger that would form the template for the future, right up to the present day where those auditioning for X-Factor talk about ‘wanting this more than anything else,’ without really comprehending or understand what that actually means or what it can bring. There’s a reason why the Stone Roses split after two albums and it was nothing to do with love.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the colossal ticket sales will help keep The Stone Roses in trainers and baggy flares for life, the crushing reality is that 100’s of decent bands will play to a half empty room in the UK this week. As you’re reading this blog you are evidently a music fan, so this week, please get off your sofa, find a venue and go and see some bands you’ve never heard of for probably no more than the price of a couple of pints of lager. We will be. In 1989 we did exactly that and saw a decidedly average band play at the West End Centre in Aldershot for £2.99. The name of that band? The Stone Roses.

Today is Saturday. The bit where we round up some tracks that for one reason or another didn’t quite get their own blog post. These are bands and artists who will probably never headline a stadium or huge park. Yet that doesn’t mean that in their own ways they haven’t been successful. Surely success is the creation of art that you’re proud of? Or have we now created a society where success is only seen as the money you've made?

James Vincent McMorrow – Higher Love

If you’ve had the pleasure to capture one of James Vincent McMorrow’s recent live shows you’ll have witnessed him playing this tender, yearning, sparse cover version of Steve Winwood’s 80’s hit Higher Love. The song has also been used on an advert for Love Film having originally featured on a compilation of 1980s covers called Silver Lining released by Sound Training Records, which is a record label operated by the students of Dublin’s Sound Training Centre. You can buy the song from iTunes here.

James Vincent McMorrow - Higher Love (Steve Winwood Cover)

Stealing Sheep - Paper Moon

It’s been quite a while since we’ve blathered on about Stealing Sheep but we’re very happy to see new material now in the form of Paper Moon, which is taken from their debut Heavenly release, the Noah and the Paper Moon EP. You can download this song as part of a 3 track sampler the group are giving away for free here. With a didgeridoo (Rolf Harris would be proud), handclaps, sounds like one girl-singing-multi-tracked harmonies and oft-kilter guitar work Paper Moon seems to try as hard as it can to duck and dive away from anything that could be considered obviously likeable and yet still manages to have a charm all of its own.

Stealing Sheep 'Paper Moon'

Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons

Charli XCX’s output has changed considerably since we first wrote about her back in November 2009. From day-glo on-heat toytown electro to getting screwed up by Salem to something that brings pop music neatly into a calm and considered autumn, this is her new song Nuclear Seasons. There's a definite whiff of Marina & The Diamonds vocally on this song, and that's no bad thing. Sign up to her mailing list and get it as a free download.

CharliXCX - Nuclear Seasons

I Am In Love – Call Me An Animal

From a city (Leicester) whose two biggest musical exports are Kasbian and Showaddywaddy comes Sebastian Twigden, Nicci Robertson, Edmund Grunill and Martin Brien. They go by the name I Am In Love and their new single Call Me An Animal is released on October 31 through Robot Needs Home. With a dark, dirty urgency this is a gritty piece of ear sex. Like it. No love it.

Call Me An Animal by i am in love

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